Less than a month after unceremoniously blocking third-party apps, Twitter has announced new charges for developers using its API.
In a tweet, Twitter announced that it will end free access to its API (both v2 and v1.1) on 9 February 2023.
The company says a paid basic tier will be available to replace the free access. More specific details are due to be announced next week.
It’s not the best time for Twitter to be announcing such a change. Yesterday, a much-anticipated client for decentralised web3 alternative Nostr called Damus launched. Nostr is notably backed by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.
In a tweet, Dorsey celebrated the arrival of the iOS client and linked to Android and web equivalents:
Other notable figures welcomed the launch, including Edward Snowden:
Damus shot into the top 10 free social networking apps in the App Store. Within 24 hours, the app exceeded 45,000 users.
Nostr, like many web3 services, is still early and not particularly user-friendly (hit me up on my catchy profile ID of npub16zc2qf3w9v0glhjrds50chqmcjmpp5v56spu5fj3tdtsmerg2jdsewdwuj).
Mastodon is a semi-decentralised alternative that has also grown in popularity amid the chaos at Twitter under Elon Musk’s leadership and wider dissatisfaction with centralised services.
Anyone who wants to join Mastodon must sign up for a server they trust, reflects their interests, and has adequate storage. However, unlike Nostr, all data is lost if that server shuts down prior to a transfer taking place.
Mastodon currently has Nostr beat on user profiles with more legible names (for example, @email@example.com).
The popularity of Nostr and Mastodon shows there’s an appetite for a decentralised Twitter alternative. While both have their pros and cons, Nostr is the closest to offering the user-friendliness and reliability of centralised social networks but has some way to go before it can be considered a true “Twitter killer”.
However, the hostile policies of Twitter towards the developer community that got the social network where it is today will drive more to Nostr and Mastodon:
The support of developers, combined with consumers’ growing appetite for taking back control of their data, could pose a real threat to all centralised social networks in the coming years. Twitter appears to be doing all it can to promote web3 alternatives.
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